I arrived home this morning at 3:00 a.m., which means I’m midway through my marathon zigzag tour between the left and right coasts of the United States. Romantic Times in Pittsburgh a week ago. Malice Domestic in Washington, D.C. this past weekend. I’ll be home for two days, and then I’m off to New York to present an award at the Edgars in New York, returning in time to attend the Palm Springs Book Fair on Sunday. ( I know, I know. It seemed like a good idea at the time.)
This was only my second Malice. I know more people now, including my new BFFs at The Mystery Chix, including Lois Greiman, Roberta Islieb, CJ Lyons, and Hank Phillippi Ryan who won the Agatha for Best First Mystery. I also met some diehard Naked Authors fans who could recite their favorite posts and a few readers who actually knew who I was. In this business, the best moments are when a fan says, “I LOVE your books. Thank you for writing.” It makes everything seem worth the effort.
In my recent travels, I’ve made some observations:
- Hotel bars close too early at conventions, leaving me with the impression that the capitalistic spirit is dead in the hotel industry.
- Authors seem to be giving away a lot more promotional items than ever before.
When my first book came out, I gave away book bags with my book cover on them. My publisher printed bookmarks. At Romantic Times, I gave away little bags of My M&Ms with my book names printed on each one. I thought I was being oh-so clever, but as it turned out, my little gifts seemed underwhelming compared to those of other authors, especially romance writers who make a science out of marketing.
For those of you who have been in this business longer than I, were promotional giveaways always part of the landscape or is this something new? Do giveaways nudge you toward an author you may not have considered before? Just asking.